"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Infusion Bible eStudies are downloadable small group studies that can be read online, printed, or emailed. Each study includes a leader guide and a study guide and is suitable for a one-hour group Bible study.
Listen...to the words of the Scripture, and in them discover God's message for you today.
Look...at a brief verbal snapshot from the scrapbook of contemporary life and discover its connection both to you and to the Scripture passage.
Live...inside the Scripture to discover its context and message; then allow the Scripture to come alive in you and cause you to live out your faith in new and more-effective ways.
Read an excerpt from this study below.
A seminary professor once told me that as a pastor I occasionally would have to try to get my church “to be Christian.” I did not know what he meant. I thought churches were Christian by definition. Now, many years later, I know exactly what my professor meant.
Religious institutions can lose their way just as individuals can. What ought to be the primary focus of their attention can be lost. After all, churches are social institutions as well as religious ones. Weddings, funerals, bazaars, parties, meetings, and other events of a social nature occur at our churches that sometimes have little to do with the gospel. There are lots of churches that are well attended and popular and prospering where the preached and taught word bears only the foggiest resemblance to the gospel itself.
When religious institutions or individuals lose their way, when what was meant to be at the heart of the faith is peripheral or ignored entirely, reformation is required. Churches sometimes have to learn how to be “Christian” again.
Judah was supposed to be a nation devoted to the sole worship of the Lord and to adherence to God’s law, but the people had lost their way. When King Josiah had read to him a book recounting the Mosaic covenant and realized that his nation had completely neglected it, he knew that reform was necessary. He tried to reform the nation and to renew the ancient covenant as laid out in the book.